When Guillermo del Toro says that his latest movie, Crimson Peak, isn’t a horror movie, but a gothic romance, he means it.
A gothic romance is a type of movie that, while horror-adjacent, visually, beckons back to movies like The Innocents, where elaborate costumes and sets help to set the mood and atmosphere.
And like Jack Clayton’s 1961 movie, there are ghosts.
And insects (this is Guillermo del Toro, after all), plenty of insects.
Despite–more often than not–great dialog I tend not to be particularly fond of long stretches of it (everything in its place). That being said, del Toro and Matthew Robbins (who co-wrote the movie) understand that extended scenes of dialog aren’t a problem when they involve interesting characters and they bridge the more horrific elements. And while the movie is not at all concerned about violence for violence’s sake, when it happens it’s pretty intense (primarily because you don’t see it often enough to take it for granted).
And speaking of dialog, kudos go out to Jessica Chastain, who somehow manages to imbue virtually everything her character says with ample doses of either menace (which is apt, considering her Lucille Sharpe is all sorts of insane) or an implied threat, while not coming off as Snidely Whiplash in a dress.
Crimson Peak is also the most sexually explicit of Guillermo del Toro’s movies, though he’s not nearly as comfortable with the human body, coitally speaking, as he is when fountains of arterial spray are spurting from it.
Then there’s the costume design by Kate Hawley, set design by Thomas E. Sanders and cinematography by Dan Laustsen, which are so elaborate and opulent that it’s easy to let your eye get lost in the myriad period details, a good thing.
Another good thing is that Crimson Peak is a (relatively) low-budget movie. Coming in at $55 million, I expect that It will do well domestically over Halloween, as well as overseas.
And if it does very well, who knows, it may bring us that much closer to del Toro’s interpretation of H.P. Lovercraft’s At The Mountains Of Madness.